Fried Green Tomatoes (in the oven!)

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We love fried green tomatoes at our house! I hear so many people say they’ve never tried them and I am just shocked. Ha! It must be a southern thing, but I just thought everyone had the opportunity to try them growing up. Either way, I think everyone should try them!

NEED:

3 medium green tomatoes, sliced. (I always find mine at our local farmer’s market.)

Cooking spray (we use olive oil spray)

Olive oil

Cornmeal

1 cup of milk

1 egg (large, small, brown, whatever. We get ours from my mom so they’re pretty farm fresh and luck of the draw šŸ˜‰ )

Salt/pepper to taste if you prefer. Sometimes I do not add anything extra.

Baking sheet

**TIP: Slice your tomatoes thick. If sliced too thin, they’ll cook like a green tomato chip because they’ll completely dry out faster.

DIRECTIONS:

Lightly spray your baking sheet and preheat your oven to 350.

Set that aside.

In a small bowl beat egg and milk together.

In a container with a lid or ziploc bag, add your cornmeal and any seasonings to taste.

Place each slice into the milk/egg mixture, then place it into your cornmeal container.

Once you have about 5 or 6 pieces in the cornmeal, close the lid and shake. Shake it a lot to make sure the pieces are truly covered. You can check and make sure, and manually turn them over if needed. (Unless you peeled the skin from each slice, there more than likely will not be flour on the edges. They will turn out fine.)

Then place each slice on the baking sheet. You can space them closer together if you have more slices.

Repeat until all of your slices are on the baking sheet.

Take your olive oil and drizzle across all of the slices. (Add salt and pepper here if you want to.)

Bake for 15 minutes in the oven.

Take a fork and turn every slice over, drizzle olive oil on the slices, and bake again for another 20 minutes.

Let them cool before serving.

DELICIOUSNESS!

This is such a perfect recipe to stick in the oven and be able to continue preparing the rest of your meal.

***You can also use squash and the same recipe to get oven fried squash! šŸ™‚

Fried Green Tomatoes

As you can tell, one was snatched off of the tray a little early. šŸ˜‰

 

 

Southern Mom Life’s {Easy} Homemade Chicken Salad

 

We love chicken salad around our house. There are a few restaurants where I LOVE to pick it up for lunch, but we like to throw some together at home for quick sandwiches every now and then. We have done a homemade recipe where we boiled our chicken; however, when we decide last minute or find ourselves in a time crunch, it is great to have some cooked chicken on hand. (Explains why this recipe is called Easy Homemade Chicken Salad.)

****SIDE NOTE: I noticed when putting this post together that we buy a lot of Wal-Mart’s brand “Great Value”. That is probably because I am such a cheap-o when it comes to grocery shopping. Groceries are so expensive, you almost have to be! You will notice almost everything in this recipe is Great Value brand, ha! Maybe I should have named it “frugal and easy.” šŸ˜‰

 

INGREDIENTS:

  1. (2) Cans of cooked chicken breast (I usually buy sodium free as well)
  2. Mayonnaise
  3. Mustard
  4. Pickles
  5. (1) Celery stalk
  6. (3) Boiled Eggs (We used fresh farm eggs from my Mom’s house)
  7. Freshly sliced tomato (For adding to the sandwiches šŸ™‚ )

 

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THE STEPS:

Chicken Salad 1

Dump the chicken, chopped celery, and chopped pickles into the bowl and add a little mustard.

chicken salad 2

Mix it all up. And if you prefer it like I do, “chop” the chicken while you’re at it.

chicken salad 3

Next, add your mayo. I apologize, I do not have a measurement. Our kitchen is more of a measure-by-taste kind of kitchen for some things. šŸ˜‰

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By now your boiled eggs should be cool, so chop them up and blend them in with a spoon. This should help absorb some of the creaminess. Also, if it is still too sweet… try adding a little extra mustard. If it is somehow not sweet enough, my mom has added less than a teaspoon of sugar to hers before.

This usually makes enough for 5 or 6 sandwiches! Definitely enough for a summer weekend lunch plus leftovers for Monday at work. I love easy and light recipes during summer when it is so hot and humid!

New Found Love for Bolthouse Farms

Over the last year I have struggled with an Iron and Vitamin B12 deficiency. I currently inject a monthly B12 shot just so that I can have the same level of energy that every one else naturally produces. Yay. Not. It has been almost a year now, so it doesn’t bother me as much as it did. I can always tell the difference in how I feel toward the end of the month when it is almost time for the next shot. I feel a lot more tired even after getting 8+ hours of sleep. I’ve also had 5 Iron treatments since May 2013 as well. Being iron deficient also can be a cause of the tiredness. Either way, I’ve been struggling with this for a year now and every chance I get I have searched out foods or drinks that naturally contain iron and B12. This is how I found Bolthouse Farms.

I knew that blueberries naturally contained B12, and one day while shopping in Wal-Mart I saw the Bolthouse Farms Blue Goodness drink and picked it up to check it out. The first thing I noticed was that on the side of the bottle it listed the amount of each fruit included in the bottle in addition to the fact that the drink is non-GMO and preservative free. I looked around at all of their different options and noticed that most all of their drinks are non-GMO and some are even gluten free! At my local Wal-Mart I can even get them for $2.68 for the single serving size!

I love drinking the Blue Goodness drink for breakfast. Usually one of the larger bottles is enough for two mornings. When I have drank Bolthouse Farms drinks a few days in a week, I can tell the difference in my energy and how I feel. I know it may be a combination of the B12 shots as well, but when you are OVER being so tired for no reason, you will get excited about anything extra that helps.

**SIDE NOTE: Bolthouse Farms does not only make fruit drinks. They have MANY, MANY vegetable drinks as well. They also sell carrots for snacking, cooking, etc. We love to get their baby carrots for snacks. šŸ™‚ Those can be found in your local produce section. I tried out a few of the vegetable ones and well… I believe I will just have to stick with eating those on the table. I couldn’t do it in the drink form. I need it to be sweet apparently. I wish I would have had someone to share them with, because we just had to throw them away. Even my daughter wouldn’t drink them. Ha! Must run in the family.

 

Below are just a FEW of my favorite drinks from Bolthouse Farms:

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Mango Coconut Splash

Mango Coconut Splash2

I will add, that these drinks are not low calorie drinks. So, if you count calories you may want to incorporate these drinks in with a smoothie or shake instead of drinking the whole drink as a single serving. I am sure some of them would be great to make in a smoothie with some protein, plus almond milk or coconut water or water and then add ice, especially the strawberry banana drink.Ā  May have to give that a shot and let you know how it turns out!!

If you decide to try out Bolthouse Farms, let me know which ones you love!

 

 

Bacon and Coconut Oil

I posted a while back about how I had joined the band wagon for Coconut Oil. Even though I have been using it over the last few months, I am still learning and finding new ways to supplement it for cooking oils, butter, etc.

This past weekend, our daughter spent the night with my mother. So, Saturday morning we were able to sleep late and get up to fix breakfast just when we wanted to. Not the moment the sun peeped through the blinds, which to our daughter translates as “time to get up!” (I have seriously considered black out panels on every window in the house.)

Once we finally rolled out of bed and decided to join the functioning world, I decided I had a good morning to cook us a big meal to enjoy together. What weekend breakfast would be complete without unhealthy bacon?? šŸ˜‰

I opened the cabinet and was about to grab the olive oil (I know it is healthier than canola or vegetable oil), but it just hit me that I had never tried to fry much with coconut oil. Hm.. that’s EVEN healthier. I gave it a shot. It took about 3 tablespoons, but it cooked the bacon great! No turning brown once the grease was too hot. AND once it was removed from the skillet and placed in the plate, there was not excessive grease that would make your stomach turn for days. I have always loved bacon, grease and all! Now, however, I feel a lot better about eating it and will hopefully manage to live a little longer. šŸ˜€

 

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Here is what the coconut oil looked like cooking the bacon. Sorry, there’s no “after” picture. I’m still new at this blog-about-what-I-do-in-the-kitchen thing since there’s usually not much to blog about. Ha!

I always purchase our coconut oil at Wal-Mart for $5.98! It is 30 oz and usually lasts a month or two. Depends on what kind of cooking I’m up to lately. You can find out the look here.

Where do you find your coconut oil? Have new ways to cook with it? Share them with me!

National Fresh Fruit and Veggies Month

Happy Monday, everyone!

June is National Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Month and even though we eat a lot of fresh fruit (sometimes from Wal-Mart or a local grocery store) and stop by our local farmer’s market periodically, we are going to make an effort to patronize our local Farmer’s Markets a little more this month! We have one here in our home town that is about 3 miles from our house. There is also one next door to where I work in Morgan County! I’m thinking one day on my lunch I might walk over.

This past weekend my daughter and I spent EARLY Saturday morning at the Lawrence County Farmer’s Market and then stopped by Wal-Mart as well to get a few things we couldn’t find.

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Buy Fresh. Buy Local.

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FRESH PEACHES!! ā¤

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The green tomatoes were also a farmer’s market find. Strawberries and bananas had to be found at Wal-Mart, though. *Look out for some upcoming fried green tomatoes. šŸ™‚

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Wal-Mart actually had a “Grown Local” section and I was able to get 8 ear of fresh corn for $2!! I’ve already spent time planning ideas.

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Another thing I love about the farmer’s market: homemade jellies and preserves!! They taste better than store bought any day!

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Then Sunday night, I stopped by Wal-Mart to pick up some meats for the week and picked up a few more things! Celery, Kiwis, Nectarines, Cucumbers, Carrots. I am excited!! šŸ˜€Ā 

We had so much fun with all of the shopping! Somethings my daughter is still iffy on, but I’m glad she loves fresh fruits and veggies!

What kind of fresh fruits and veggies do you like to cook with or snack on??

Birthday Bucketlist: Try a new Food

Quiche

Okay, is it fair to put a quiche in here as “try a new food”? I mean, I have tried everything used in the quiche I’ve tried lately, just never together and never as a quiche. Like the ham and Swiss or the spinach and mushroom. I’ve decided though, a quiche itself was new for me. And it was A-Ma-ZING! A local bakery offers a quiche of the day which comes with a hot fluffy crescent roll and a “taste of fall salad.” I may or may not have had the quiche special twice in one week. If you are ever in the Decatur area, find All Wright Bakery during the week before 2 p.m. and try their Quiche Special!

swiss-chard-quicheThis is not my exact dish, but it is exactly what my mushroom and swiss quiche looked like when I picked it up.
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Gyro

For the record (and in displaying my southern ignorance in all its glory).. I learned after eating this that it was pronounced “euro” NOT guy-roe. HA. Regardless, I love them. A new restaurant has opened up one street over from where I work. I have never tried Greek food and this was a great first impression. A gyro consists of meat that is roasted over a vertical spit. I could actually see this in the restaurant I visited. I found that interesting and cool enough. I went pretty basic with the first visit, just to be on the safe side. I did not want to end up hating it and have to buy lunch twice. Everything was great. I even loved the sauce they provide, even though I ate it with the fries and it might have possibly been intended for the gyro.

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52313383eca59.preview-300This is the Gyro Uno location in Decatur, AL now!

Rabbit

I saved this one for last because I didn’t want to scare you away. Ha. Man of the House is very self sufficient and likes to use a pellet gun to shoot rabbits, dove, etc. (He also hunts, fishes, and bowfishes.) I made the mistake of letting him know that I had NEVER eaten rabbit. I’m not sure it had ever became an option during my childhood? We always had deer meat, or venison, plus store bought chicken and our own beef and pork. I wasn’t sure how I felt about eating an animal close enough to the ground to be similar to the rodent family. Okay, kidding, I do not consider rabbits a part of the rodent family, but still. We have cooked rabbit for dinner as of last night. I had printed 4 different recipe choices so that we could decide what we really preferred. Man of the House wanted Rabbit Stew, but I just couldn’t go for stringy rabbit the first time. We used a recipe that had the fewest ingredients. 1 whole rabbit, 1/3 cup of honey, mustard, salt, pepper, butter. (I substituted the butter with Coconut Oil so that it wouldn’t be so greasy.) We added extras of both the honey and mustard until the sauce tasted how we wanted. It baked for an hour at 350 degrees. I’ll admit, I was too much of a chicken to try one of the thighs. But I did eat a piece of the tenderloin and it was alright. Not my favorite dish ever, just reminded me of dark meat chicken. It just felt so thick trying to chew it up, or maybe that was me being paranoid. Either way, I definitely tried a new food with this dish! And can attest to the fact that if something gets real crazy here in America, I will not starve. Unless the rabbits are all gone. Not sure where I could go from there. Ha!

First Ever Rabbit REcipe

So, I am just trucking right along marking things off of my Birthday Bucket List. Yay me!

How about you? Are you getting some yearly Bucket List things done now that we are a quarter of a way into 2014? Are you trying new foods as well? Share them with me so that I can try them as well if I have yet to do so!

Coconut Oil

With my recent life changes and trying to be healthier (and possibly living a little longer), I have found Coconut Oil. I think I may be somewhat behind on this craze, but I am so glad I found it! Coconut Oil has SO many uses it can be completely overwhelming. Even Man of the House says, “let me guess, Coconut Oil can help that, too?” Ha. He won’t admit it, but his heartburn went away the other night after I convinced/forced him to eat a spoonful of coconut oil.

A few of its uses apply to us as a family or individually. Man of the House is not altogether sold on the idea of it, but he goes along with certain things just to please me. Like eating a spoonful to see if it helped his heartburn. He didn’t complain any after that. (For the record, pure virgin, non-GMO coconut oil has zero taste. The consistency is like when butter melts in your mouth, but there is no taste. It is slightly strange at first. It is similar to eating a spoonful of water and butter at the same time.)

Here are some new ways we are using and substituting with Coconut Oil:

  1. Substituting butter. Perfect example: We grilled on Sunday, and I made sliced ranch potatoes. I placed the coconut oil in the aluminum foil wrapped around the potatoes instead of butter, and it cooked the same but with less fat.
  2. Energy Boost. I read to dip a tablespoon of coconut oil in Chia seeds for an energy boost and to NOT take this at night. I tried it one morning when I was dragging, definitely better than drinking coffee and ending up with stained teeth, etc. TRY IT! (:
  3. Healing Stretch Marks. Hey, when you have carried a child and you end up with stretch marks, no matter how minor they are, you’d like a little help making them a little more subtle. I have noticed a changed with only two uses! I will eventually do a separate post on extensive results over a period of time.
  4. Helping with weight loss when consumed on a regular basis. I don’t have results or proof of this theory yet, but I am testing it out.
  5. Reducing appearance of cellulite. I’m actually not using it for this purpose, but my sister-in-law is. She is a small framed woman who does not need to lose weight, but is uncomfortable with the appearance of cellulite on the back of her thighs. How many of you are in the same situation? Well, I will keep up with her and see how it turns out! In the mean time, it wouldn’t hurt to start trying as well. (;
  6. EXTREME FACIAL MOISTURIZER. Unless you have EXTREMELY dry skin, I suggest only using this two or three nights a week. And only at night. (:
  7. Helping with Heartburn. Well, this is a premature assumption since we only tried this once. Will be trying this again in the future just to find out.

There are many, MANY other uses for Coconut Oil, but these are the ones we are utilizing right now in our lives. I was given a listing for 101 uses for Coconut Oil! I am going to eventually try as many of them out as possible as long as they apply to our needs and life.

Do you use Coconut Oil? What is your favorite way to incorporate it into your routines?

Ways to use Kale: Lasagna Soup

Lately I have been trying to eat more greens and healthy foods. I have learned within the last year that I have a type of anemia where I do not absorb enough B12 from an every day diet, causing me to have a B12 deficiency. I do give myself a B12 shot monthly, but I am trying to make a point to eat more foods that naturally have B12 and other vitamins. So I have chosen Kale as a new green to begin adding to food and recipes.

I got the original version of this recipe from http://www.ohsweetbasil.com. I really am just starting out in my cooking adventures, so I do not have an arsenal of recipes already. Working on that, though. (:

Here is my modified version, and how I made it work for us.

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (or more. I used more. Don’t have an exact measurement.)
  • 4 Small Cloves of Garlic, minced
  • 1 Green Pepper, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon basil, chopped
  • 1 Lb Ground Beef
  • Beef Broth (32 oz)
  • 1/2 Cup Ricotta
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, 28 oz
  • 2 Cups Broken Lasagna Noodles
  • 1 Cup Mozarella Cheese, shredded
  • Kale: just shred by hand an amount you prefer to be in the soup.

Instructions

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, over medium high heat, add the olive oil until it just starts to shimmer. Add the garlic, stirring as you add it and cook for a few seconds. Turn the heat down to medium and stir occasionally, about 3-5 minutes. Add the green pepper, oregano, parsley and basil. Stir to combine and let cook for one minute.
  2. Add the ground beef and cook until browned and no longer raw. I started adding kale here. Add the beef broth and ricotta, whisking to break up the ricotta and help it to melt into the soup. Add the brown sugar, tomatoes, stirring to combine. I let it simmer for about 30 minutes.
  3. The last 15 minutes add the broken lasagna noodles and cook until tender.
  4. Place the soup in oven safe bowls or soup mugs and top with cheese. (I used my small Corning Ware bowls.)
  5. Heat the broiler to high heat and place the soup in the oven. Once the cheese is golden and melted remove from the oven and serve with warm bread.

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Here is after adding the beef broth, kale and ricotta cheese. I promise, it turns out better (;

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Here is the final product. I believe I could’ve left it in to brown a little longer on the cheese so that it would have looked more like lasagna, but I loved the cheese just like this. And I loved using the small serving bowls from our Corning Ware set because they came with lids and I could prepare a few additional individual servings to take to work for lunch.

This actually turned out amazing! If you would like to try the original recipe, you can find it at Oh Sweet Basil!

She has tons of amazing recipes available.

Do you already use Kale a lot? What are some ways you incorporate it into your daily diet?

Have any recipes you’d like to share? (;

Learning to NOT Make Dinner from a Box

Over the last year and a half, we have fallen into this terrible habit of cooking something out of a box with directions and everything preserved in small packages. For example: the first full year that we lived together in our own apartment (when Khloe was thankfully still young enough to be eating baby food) we cooked and ate every version of Hamburger Helper and Chicken Helper available. Oh, and spaghetti. We ate A LOT of spaghetti. I am not putting down Hamburger Helper or spaghetti meals, obviously we aren’t the only family to purchase them or the companies would have already went under. Ha! BUT I was so tired of feeling like we always ate the same things, and never anything truly healthy. FYI: browned hamburger meat and packages full of preservatives are not much more healthy than fast food in my opinion but what can I say, we were young and broke and this was a new experience for us.

Now I do want to make this clear, this is not a rant about eating truly wholesome, pesticide-free, antibiotic-free, whatever-else-you-want-to-claim-is-dangerous-free foods, etc. This is just my adventure in attempting to provide our family with varieties, albeit sometimes more healthy, and definitely a more flavorful menu.

**Corn ChowderĀ  This inspiration came from Myra over at http://www.myblessedlife.net She is always cooking up something amazing and I definitely have acknowledged my lack of baking/cooking expertise since following her blog. Haha! This just sounded good from the recipe, but turned out amazing!! And the man of the house was happy it was a soup recipe that actually called for meat and “substance” as he called it. (: http://myblessedlife.net/2013/02/corn-chowder.html

**Easy Crock Pot Potato Soup This recipe actually came from a close friend of mine. She is a busy mom with 4 kids (two sets of twins!) who works a full time job outside of the home, so I think she knew I would love any recipe with the word EASY in the title. I had to try it out when she recommended it.

Ingredients:

  • 1 30 oz. bag of frozen, shredded hash browns
  • 3 14 oz. cans of chicken broth
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 8 oz. package cream cheese
  • bacon, shredded cheddar cheese, green onion, sour cream for garnish

Directions: Combine everything (except cream cheese) in your crock pot. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About one hour before serving, add cream cheese and cook until thoroughly melted.

Side Note: From experience, definitely make sure ALL of the cream cheese is completely melted. We’ve made this a few times now and definitely have made one set that didn’t get melted completely……

**Taco Soup This also came from Myra at My Blessed Life. I cooked this earlier in the week.. it was great! I will add:Ā  we crushed small round tortilla chips and placed them in the bowl before adding the soup. http://myblessedlife.net/2012/01/taco-soup.html

**Tomato Pie I came across this on a random blog stroll. And guess who the guest post was from? I’ll let you click and find out! (She is a kitchen genius. Pretty sure I should just print every recipe she’s posted and be set for months. LOL!) This was SO good. I had my reservations, but it turned out absolutely amazing. Even the man of the house was very skeptical and then admitted he really like it. This is one of the simplest recipes for an easy meal. Please check it out if you have time!Ā  http://goodcheapeats.com/2010/05/tomato-pie-guest-post/

**Chicken Bacon Club Sandwiches How funny that I actually found this recipe in a Wal-Mart sale paper. They always have a few recipes listed and advertise the ingredients needed, all available at Wal-Mart, of course. This was SO, SO easy and more tasty than our usual chicken sandwich meals. We added some oven baked fries and called it a day.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Hidden Valley Smoked Bacon Ranch Sandwich Spread & Dip, divided
  • 2 cups cooked chicken
  • 8 slices of sandwich bread, toasted
  • 4 leaves lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, sliced

Directions:

  • Stir chicken and sandwich spread together.
  • Spread 1/2 chicken mixture on 4 slices of toast.
  • Top with lettuce, tomato and remaining toast to create sandwiches.

**Cream of Tomato Soup and 3 Cheese Grilled Cheese This was actually the first recipe I started with on my drive to make more things homemade. I really loved the way it turned out. I will say, I accidentally added too much garlic and had to compensate with extra puree tomatoes and milk to even out the flavor. When we first tried it it was STRONG. Hey, living and learning. This was such a wholesome meal with the three cheese grilled cheese sandwich, made on cheese bread by the way!! Oh my goodness it was so amazing combined with the soup. It was like having a Panera Bread meal at home. (:

http://www.ohsweetbasil.com/2013/02/cream-of-tomato-soup-and-grilled-cheese.html

I’m not even sure how I came across her website or the recipe now, but I will tell you that I am subscribed via email and definitely looking forward to receiving more of the recipes on her page. Go check out Oh Sweet Basil and see what yummy recipes you come across.

Are you a natural in the kitchen, or are you like me and need a little nudge in the right direction every now and then? I’m hoping all of this practice can uncover some long lost skills I just had yet to discover. Ha!

I now realize that we have eaten a lot of soup lately. What can I say, it has been so cold out, I think it fit the occasion (;

Thin Mints, Samoas, and more…

Surely when you read the title, you already knew what Thin Mint and Samoa meant.

If those words did not ring a bell, your life is not yet complete. (:

GirlScoutCookies

Girl Scout cookies are pretty well-known around the South, and I am certain that they are popular in other parts of the country and maybe world (considering that Girl Scouts is not only a very established organization in America, but is also now international as well.)

With that being said, I hope you really have had the chance to experience Girl Scout cookies before, whether it really be the Thin Mints, Samoas, or any of the many other options! They are amazing. And slightly addicting.

In November I made the decision to become a troop leader. Maybe I’m crazy. This year I have 5 girls age range 3-5th grade. Our first meetings is coming up, I’m actually excited!

The annual Girl Scout cookie sale is coming up for us in January. I usually always stick to what I like (I really love the Samoas), but learning ALL of the different types over the last week has gotten me intrigued. I plan to try many of the other types this year. I had never even heard of the dulce de leche. Let me tell you, THEY ARE GOOD.

Have you tried many types girl scout cookies? What is your favorite? What are the ones you think I should steer clear from?